Bubble & Squeak
Article by Morgan Chambers
If you love to cook but have never heard of this dish, read on!
Since I was born in England, my mom created a lot of traditional English food. Most of it is horribly bland and just forgettable but this dish has always been on my table. Chef’s all over the globe love to create. That’s a huge part of cooking. You could think of it as building something out of nothing.
Feeling hungry in the morning? Don’t feel like doing a lot of breakfast prep? Bubble and squeak could be the answer. Most of us generally have lots of leftovers in the fridge and there you have it. Ingredients!
What is it?
Bubble and squeak date back to the 18th century, and was made by those who were hungry but didn’t want to do a lot of side work. The dish was typically made from leftovers from a Sunday roast but the key ingredients are onions, potatoes, cabbage, and all sorts of other vegetables. Pretty much anything that the home chef feels like throwing in.
Originally it was a meat-based meal but over the years that seems to have evolved into mainly cabbage, onions, and potatoes. If I wanted to make Bubble & Squeak, I would look for any green veggies, definitely an onion or two, and then I would have to find some potatoes because I don’t think it would squeak quite right without them. Other fun veggies for this dish include Chard, Bok Choy, and Kale. There are no rules so just be creative and always hungry.
If you make enough, you will be left with a wonderful snack you can eat any time you need a bite. This sounds odd but you will then have leftovers made from leftovers. I love it any time and generally have a tasty bottle of Katsup at hand for the dippin’ sauce.
Where did it get that odd name?
Bubble & Squeak in a skillet will begin to talk as the heat is turned up. That’s right! It will bubble and it will squeak and often it will do this simultaneously. Little squeaks and pops mean good eating! Taking creativity to the next level, why not throw a couple of fried eggs on top? All the flavors of breakfast meet in one delicious and healthy plate. Never cooked Bubble & Squeak? Bust out of the traditional Eggs & Sausage plate and find new and exciting ingredients. I know a few but you should find your own. Just ask yourself this question. What do I like to eat in the morning? You may have found your mystery ingredient in the answer. Oh and here’s a clue. Mashed potatoes work great to help all the ingredients adhere into a sort of veggie pancake.
While cooking this dish, just stay with it and don’t let anyone distract you from your stovetop duties. Since it is a fried dish, you will be dealing with a very hot skillet and you know what that means. Look away too long and you’ll be serving a very crusty dish. Just begin by slowly bringing your skillet up to medium heat and toss in your onions and potatoes to get started. Then slowly bring up the heat and make a patty as you add more items. Use your spatula and press down on it as you go. Do this many times to keep the ingredients packed down into a patty.
I like blackened food so for me, a little burning during the final moments on the stove just makes it better but don’t burn it up!
This dish is pure English but it is a massive departure from traditional blandish English food everyone worldwide likes to make fun of. So if you have yet to do so, jump in with the anticipation and wonder that keeps chefs all over the world cooking. The pleasure of eating!